Do home solar panels make sense in Chico, California?

Summary:

The median price of a 6 kilowatt home solar system in Chico is about  $11,031.
That 6 kW system would generate about  $1,807 worth of electricity every year.
In 2019, you can qualify for a  30% federal tax credit. In California, there are additional solar rebates available.
There are at least  20,813 homes in Buffalo with solar panels.
Learn more

Table of Contents:



How much do solar panels cost in Chico, CA?

The average cost per watt of residential solar in California is $4/watt. For comparison, the national average is $3.70/watt.

Cost per watt is the total installed cost of a system, including taxes, divided by the size of the system in watts (DC). It includes the cost of hardware plus installation costs. Cost per watt is always the gross cost, before incentives. This means, at a minimum, you can take 30% off the price of the system in 2019 because of federal tax incentives.

The cost of a solar panel system for your house in Chico will depend on how much electricity you want to generate, which affects the size of the system you’ll need. The following is an example price estimate for a home solar panel system in Chico, with an electricity generation estimate based on the local climate and the following assumptions:

• 554 kWh is the amount of electricity that the average California home uses every month.
• 4.04 kilowatts is the size of the system you’ll need to generate 100% of this electricity from solar panels.
• 10 to 16 panels is what that translates to (depending on panel efficiency, which commonly ranges from 260 watts to 400 watts)
• Panels oriented due south and mounted on a shade-free roof at a 30° angle.

Gross system price$15,759This is the price of your system plus taxes but before incentives, based on an average cost of solar in your state of $4 per watt.
Federal tax credit of 30%$4,728The most important solar incentive in the nation, the federal solar tax credit, gives homeowners 30% off the cost of their system in 2019. It drops to 26% next year. Read more
Net system price:$11,031

This estimate is based on averages but your home, of course, may be different. For a personalized estimate, grab a copy of your utility bill and use our calculator to plug in the numbers for your home.



Can you save money with solar panels in Chico, CA?

Every year, that hypothetical Chico home solar system described above would produce about $1,807 worth of electricity. This is based on the California state average price of electricity of $0.18/kWh and the average local climate.

This estimate assumes that your home uses an average amount of electricity, but your needs may be different. In addition, if you have some shade on your panels during the day, that can drop your production by a lot and require more panels to make up the difference.



Houses in Chico with solar panels

According to our data from various local agencies, there are at least 4,431 homes in Chico that have solar panels installed. This means a lot of your neighbors have looked into solar and decided that it’s a smart choice for them. If you add up the total generating capacity of these solar panel systems, you get a total of 27,373 kilowatts of solar electricity that is being sent into your local electricity grid.

If you’re trying to decide if solar is right for you, this is good news. Having a lot of solar homes means that you will have more local contractors to choose from. You can also feel more confident about going solar, because many of your neighbors in Chico have already decided that solar is a smart choice for them.



Solar panels directly turn sunlight into electricity, so the more sunlight you have, the more power that a solar panel system will generate. However, one misconception is that solar panels only work in very sunny climates. While it’s true that you will generate more electricity in a sunny state like Arizona, you might be surprised to learn that solar can generate plenty of electricity in most places in the United States - even cloudier places like New England or the Northwest.



Chico solar energy potential

To make a fair comparison of how much sunlight different cities get, we use a measurement called Direct Normal Irradiance (DNI). It takes into account the position of the sun in the sky throughout the year, cloud cover, airborne particulates, precipitation, and other climate variables.

The DNI for Chico is 6.29, which means that it has excellent solar potential.

6.29

In Chico, you’ll generate a lot of solar electricity throughout the year, which helps to shorten the amount of time is takes for a solar panel system to pay for itself.

In the continental United States, DNI ranges from about 3.0 to 8.5 kWh/m2/day. In the most northern parts of Alaska, the DNI reaches a low of 0.5.

A higher DNI is better, but even if your city is average or even below average for the US, it’s still possible for solar panels to generate plenty of power. For example, solar is very popular in Germany, where the DNI is only around 2.5.

This DNI data comes from GEOS geostationary satellite data and NREL climate models.

Chico
US low
US high

Different locations in the US will see a wider range of solar energy generation from winter to summer. These charts show you what to expect in Chico.

Solar Energy by Month (DNI)


The graph below estimates how much a 6 kilowatt south-facing solar panel system would generate in Chico.

Power Generation by Month (kWh)


In Chico, the electricity production from solar panels will vary by a fair amount seasonally. In an average year, your power generation will be 219% higher in the peak month compared to the lowest production month in winter. This is about average for the United States. It means that you should expect to use some grid electricity in the winter, and send excess solar electricity to the grid in the summer.



Chico, CA solar companies

This is a list of solar home installations we know about within the city limits of Chico, CA.

# of homes refers to the number of installations by the installer in the Chico area that we have a record of. It’s possible that the installer has done more installations in the local area.
Total kW installed is the cumulative solar generation capacity of all the residential installations by the installer in Chico.
Year of the most recent install is the most recent record of work done by the installer in Chico. This lets you know if the company is active in the area, or hasn’t done work in some time (or even gone out of business).
Installer# of homesTotal kW installedYear of most recent install
A 5 STARR ENERGY172014
ACRO ELECTRIC2142012
ADDY ELECTRIC162015
ADVANCE SOLAR HYDRO & WIND122001
ADVANCED ELECTRIC152011
ADVANCED ELECTRIC & SOUND10582012
ADVANCED ENERGY132007
AES ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS483592014
AES TECHNOLOGY DBA ADVANCED ELECTRIC & SOUND5312016
AIRCON ENERGY172010
ALL ELECTRIC132005
ALL SOLAR ELECTRIC201462015
ALLDRIN ENTERPRISES ENERGY ALTERNATIVES272005
ALTERNATE ENERGY SYSTEMS6875,0602017
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY142008
ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOLUTIONS2122012
ALTERRNATIVE ENERGY SYSTEMS3152016
APPLIED ELECTRICAL162016
ARAM SOLAR2102006
ASOLIA4172016
B & B HARVEY CONSTRUCTION172009
B & B SOLAR2282016
BALKEN CONSTRUCTION4322016
BALLARD CONSTRUCTION182015
BAUMAN ELECTRIC COMPANY2142012
BCM CONSTRUCTION2162016
BJK CONSTRUCTION5392016
BJK CONSTRUCTION & SOLAR182017
BRAD WOLFF ELECTRIC122003
BRETT HIGHTOWER182015
BRIGHTER SOLUTIONS ENERGY CONSULTING61202016
BURCH CREEK FARMS INC11002015
C E S ELECTRIC9832016
C.P.A.E. CRYSTAL PINES ALT. ENERGY122002
CALIFORNIA SOLAR ELECTRIC132007
CALIFORNIA SOLAR ELECTRIC CO9542014
CAPITAL CITY SOLAR142008
CARLSON ELECTRIC SERVICES8652015
CHICO ELECTRIC1421,1762016
CHICO GREEN BUILDERS182011
CHICO ROOFING142015
CHINCHEN ELECTRIC5362016
CHRIS AMSON ELECTRICAL162007
CLIMATE AND ENERGY SOLUTIONS874742017
CLIMATE MASTER SOLAR CO112013
CLIMATE MASTERS4212014
CLIMATE MASTERS HVAC & SOLAR331492015
CLIMATE MATTERS182011
CMCO ELECTRIC1162014
COGENERATION TECHNOLOGIES, INC2162006
COMPLETE SOLAR1142016
COOKS ELECTRIC142013
CRANE EXTERIORS DBA CHICO ROOFING CO182010
CRANE EXTERIORS DBA SOLAR WORKS392422016
CRANE EXTERIORS INC.6562017
DAVE BECK ELECTRIC182007
DEADMOND BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION272016
DICKINSON ENERGY SOLUTIONS1112015
DPP182014
DUKE'S ELECTRIC172009
DURHAM ELECTRIC10642016
EARTH GROUND CONSTRUCTION2102015
ECOADVANTAGE POWER INC252010
EFFICIENT ENERGY CONCEPTS251302016
EGAN ELECTRIC9512013
EKH ENTERPRISES2112006
ELITE SOLAR555192016
ENERGY ALTERNATIVES13412004
EPIC HOME SOLAR152016
EQUISOLAR132016
EVERGREEN122008
EVERGREEN DEVELOPMENT17822008
FRALICK HOMES2132014
FREEDOM SOLAR1142017
G D MACKENZIE & COMPANY292011
GALLI DESIGNS2152011
GALLI DESIGNS, INC.3232006
GLENN DOSS CONSTRUCTION132005
GOODMAN SERVICES2342012
GRANITE BAY ENERGY GROUP3152011
GREEN CONSTRUCTION SERVICE262013
GREEN LIGHT CONSTRUCTION SERVICE112015
GREEN LOTUS CONSTRUCTION132007
GREENWAY SOLAR192015
GREG TOMISK CONSTRUCTION142009
GRID ALTERNATIVES471132017
HALCYON SOLAR4292016
HAWES ELECTRIC4212016
HELIO ELECTRIC, INC172012
HELIOPOWER10622012
HOFMANN BUILDERS132007
HOMESTEAD112012
HOMESTEAD CONSTRUCTION292013
HOMESTEAD HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING CONSTRUCTION & SOLAR182017
HOOKED ON SOLAR4212016
HORIZON SOLAR POWER4242017
HUBBELL ELECTRIC152014
HUHN ELECTRIC132016
INFINITY ENERGY201502016
INTERIOR INNOVATIONS1112015
IRA SMITH CONSTRUCTION132016
JAJ ROOFING162016
K2 SOLAR172010
KNOLLE ELECTRIC172016
LIFETIME SOLAR192013
LIGHT IT UP ELECTRIC17942015
LIGHT IT UP SOLAR & ELECTRIC331732016
LIGHTNING ELECTRIC122005
MACMICHAEL ELECTRIC152015
MARIN SOLAR152006
MARK BALKEN CONSTRUCTION162015
MD ELECTRIC & SOLAR132009
MENARD SYSTEMS192015
MENDOCINO SOLAR WORKS122005
METRO RF SERVICES4192016
NORTH STATE SOLAR ENERGY965682017
NORTH VALLEY SYSTEMS15722011
O'SOLAR MIO2102012
OAK TREE CONSTRUCTION2122010
PARAMOUNT ENERGY SOLUTIONS292013
PATTERSON & PATTERSON282011
PERFECTION POOLS & SPAS152011
PETERSENDEAN3172015
PLAN IT SOLAR4162014
POWER HOUSE SOLAR291982016
POWER HOUSE SOLAR, INC112006
POWER INDEPENDENCE ELECTRIC192004
POWER SHACKS182008
POWER SHACKS, INC DBA EVERGREEN DEVELOPMENT182008
POWERGRID172013
PREMIER POWER INC1122008
QUALITY FIRST HOME IMPROVEMENT112011
RANCHO ELECTRIC152011
REAL GOODS INC2122007
REAL GOODS-GAIAM122008
REC SOLAR643292014
REED FRANCIS ELECTRIC172017
REMODELORS4102011
REMODELORS, THE182012
RESPONSIBLE SOLAR3172017
REVOLVE SOLAR CA1125812016
RGS/REAL GOODS4182012
RITCHIE BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION172014
RMS BUILDERS172012
ROYAL AIRE1891,0152017
ROYAL AIRE INC142016
RSM ENERGY LLC142016
SAC RIVER SOLAR282015
SCOTT & SONS ELECTRIC162010
SELF1427462017
SHERATON SERVICES292012
SHIELD ELECTRIC142013
SHIELDS ELECTRIC261632016
SIERRA SOLAR SYSTEMS4132008
SKYLINE ENERGY132014
SLINGSHOT POWER4272016
SOLAR COMPANY271672016
SOLAR G292015
SOLAR HARVEST3252011
SOLAR HOME162012
SOLAR NETWORK INC2132015
SOLAR SERVICE CENTER2122015
SOLAR SOURCE152016
SOLAR UNITED NETWORK INC192013
SOLAR UNIVERSE3182012
SOLAR WORKS2122014
SOLARCITY8004,7892016
SOLARMAX TECHNOLOGY2132012
SOLIGENT172014
SOLIGENT LEASING172015
SOMMERS CONSTRUCTION142017
SPECTRUM ENERGY DEVELOPMENT INC21922016
SPG SOLAR764632010
SST CONSTRUCTION192017
ST CLAIR CONSTRUCTION492008
ST CLAIR CONSTRUCTION COMPANY122006
ST. CLAIR CONSTRUCTION CO.3162006
STORNETTA BROTHERS CONSTRUCTION191072016
SUN FIRST172017
SUN POWER & GEOTHERMAL8292006
SUN VALLEY SOLAR11672010
SUNGEVITY542782016
SUNLINE ENERGY3162016
SUNNOVA132014
SUNON ENERGY3132016
SUNPOWER471002016
SUNRUN775232017
SUNTECHNICS ENERGY SYSTEMS, INC4222008
SYNTOL PLUMBING ELECTRICAL HEATING & AIR8392016
SYNTROL SOLAR632892016
SYNTROL PLUMBING7332015
TESLA311972017
THE REMODELORS382012
THURMAN CONSTRUCTION272014
TOP HAT ENERGY162014
TRAVALINI & SONS CONSTRUCTION2182014
UNITED SUN ENERGY927072017
URBAN DESIGN172015
URBAN DESIGN SOLAR936292016
UTILITY ENERGY SYSTEMS5482017
VELOCITY SOLAR2102017
VELOCITY SOLAR POWER1112017
VERENGO10512014
VILLAGE POWER DESIGN162006
VISION INSTALLATION132014
VISION SOLAR2142014
VIVINT5803,4992017
WEBB AIR4212016
WEST VALLEY SOLAR & ELECTRIC172016
WESTHAVEN181112016
WESTHAVEN SOLAR2142016
WILLIAM LIFETIME BUILDERS152013
WING SOLAR & WOOD ENERGY151632016
WOLFFE ELECTRIC2132015
YOUR ENERGY SOURCE252015

Solar panel lease companies in Chico

If you’re thinking about going with a solar lease or PPA, you should first read our guide to solar financing to make sure that you understand the pros and cons of a lease or PPA versus purchasing a system outright. In most cases, you will come out on top by buying your solar panels, even if that means taking out a loan.

That said, leases/PPAs continue to be popular, and they can be a good choice in some cases. There are several national solar installers that offer leases/PPAs, but not all of them operate in every state. Here’s a breakdown of some of the major solar installers that offer these types of contracts, and whether they operate in your state:

CompanyOperates in California ?
SungevityYES
SunnovaYES
SunrunYES
Vivint SolarYES

Looking for solar panel cleaning companies in Chico?

Are you searching for a local solar panel cleaning company? Stop and reconsider. Trying to get the maximum number of watts out of your solar array by keeping your panels squeaky clean isn’t worth it if you’re paying $100 or more per visit from a cleaning company. In fact, rain is sufficient to keep solar panels clean for most people. If you live in a dry and dusty area or frequently find bird poop or leaves on your panels, invest in some inexpensive equipment to take care of cleaning yourself. Read our guide to solar panel maintenance, which includes tips on solar panel cleaning and a some recommended cleaning equipment.

Contact solar companies in Chico

Want to work with one of these companies? We screen companies to make sure that you work with qualified installers. Use our service to get multiple quotes from quality Chico solar contractors.

Get quotes from solar installers in Chico



Average California electricity prices


In California, homeowners pay an average of 18.31 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity. Meanwhile, the average price of residential electricity in the US in 2019 is 13.34 cents per kWh.

In other words, you’re paying 37% more for electricity than the average American, making your cost of electricity fairly expensive compared to the nation.

Higher than average prices like this are a good argument for going solar.

Regardless of what your electricity prices are, by adding solar panels to your house and generating your own electricity, you’re locking in your cost of electricity for as long as your system is working, which will protect you from future rate increases by your utility. Given that many panels come with 25 year warranties, this is an investment that can last a long time.

Keep in mind that the price of electricity varies by utility, sometimes by a lot. The table below lists the average price of electricity for utilities in California state. For current rates, check with your utility.

Company# CustomersAvg Price (¢/kWh)
Aha Macav Power Service898.18
Anza Electric Coop Inc4,33817.93
Bear Valley Electric Service22,47027.71
City of Alameda30,81118.07
City of Anaheim - (CA)111,34716.52
City & County of San Francisco23817.00
City of Azusa14,66713.33
City of Banning - (CA)10,98520.18
City of Burbank Water and Power46,21516.51
City of Colton - (CA)16,66116.16
City of Corona - (CA)98615.59
City of Glendale - (CA)74,78319.96
City of Healdsburg - (CA)4,82317.13
City of Lodi - (CA)21,94017.48
City of Moreno Valley - (CA)5,57620.03
City of Lompoc - (CA)13,16515.55
City of Palo Alto - (CA)25,57914.28
City of Pasadena - (CA)55,76318.23
City of Redding - (CA)37,87816.76
City of Riverside - (CA)97,34716.12
City of Roseville - (CA)52,18115.54
City of Santa Clara - (CA)46,85912.27
City of Shasta Lake - (CA)4,16617.36
City of Ukiah - (CA)6,44913.62
City of Vernon7311.85
Imperial Irrigation District132,63212.93
Lassen Municipal Utility District9,03215.70
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power1,329,96816.65
Liberty Utilities42,32313.79
Merced Irrigation District7,41816.02
Modesto Irrigation District97,93517.81
PacifiCorp35,70413.88
Pacific Gas & Electric Co.3,998,18721.18
Sacramento Municipal Util Dist552,67814.06
San Diego Gas & Electric Co1,280,26422.09
Southern California Edison Co4,362,15016.60
Pittsburg Power Company34822.60
Plumas-Sierra Rural Elec Coop6,60618.58
Surprise Valley Electrification2,8258.79
Truckee Donner P U D12,23715.60
Turlock Irrigation District73,39316.01
Valley Electric Assn, Inc1213.11

Historical California electricity prices, 2008 to 2017


The average price of residential electricity in California, over the past ten years, is 15.86 cents per Kilowatt hour. This is 31% more than than the US average price of 12.07 cents per kWh. Because your state historically has had high electricity prices, there’s a good chance that prices will continue to be high in the future. This is a good argument for going solar.

Why is this important to know? Depending on the size of your system, owning home solar reduces or eliminates the effect of electricity price increases.


Historical California electricity prices (cents per kilowatt hour)

CA prices
US prices
2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
CA prices13.81¢14.74¢14.75¢14.78¢15.34¢16.23¢16.25¢16.99¢17.39¢18.31¢
US prices11.26¢11.51¢11.54¢11.72¢11.88¢12.13¢12.52¢12.65¢12.55¢12.89¢


By looking at the trend in electricity prices over the past decade, you can get a better idea of whether high or low prices in your state are a recent change, or part of a long term trend. Because solar panels last a really long time (most come with 25 year power warranties), going solar protects you from future changes in electricity price. Basically, by paying for a system now, you can lock in your cost of electricity for two or even three decades.



Environmental report for California electricity

Depending on the type of fuel they use, power plants produce differing amounts of air pollution. This is measured as units of pollution per megawatt hour (mWh) of electricity.

For every mWh of electricity generated, California power plants produce on average:

  • 216 kilograms of CO2, which is 53% less than the US average of 459 kg.
  • 7 grams of SO2, which is 98% less than the US average of 411 g.
  • 332 grams of NOx, which is 11% less than the US average of 373 g.

In the power generation estimate listed above, The Solar Nerd calculator determined that an unshaded, south-facing 6 kilowatt PV system would generate about 9,871 kWh in an average year.

This means that putting a 6 kW solar panel system on your house would prevent 2,132 kilograms of CO2, 69 grams of SO2, and 3,277 grams of NOx from being emitted into the atmosphere.

The carbon offset of these solar panels would be about equivalent to planting 124 trees every year! (One deciduous tree left to grow for 10 years offsets 17.2 kg of CO2, according to the EPA.)

CA state average electricity emissions
CA
US
Glossary:
CO2 is carbon dioxide and is a primary greenhouse gas.
SO2 is sulphur dioxide. It damages the human respiratory system and contributes to acid rain.
NOx refers to nitrogen oxides, which contribute to smog, acid rain, and lung damage.


Calculate your home solar incentives for Chico

Use our calculator to determine the financial payback of a home solar systemand to get a solar performance estimate customized to your home, including federal, state, and local incentives.



Ready to go solar in Chico?

Use our free service to find qualified solar contractors and get multiple quotes on a solar panel installation in Buffalo.

Home solar quotes in Chico
Sources:
This report was prepared with data from the good people at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Data, the US Energy Information Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.